With Sookie’s permission, I’d glamoured Jason not to be able to speak (or otherwise communicate) about Sarah Newlin, Hep-V, or the particular details regarding Sookie and my sons. But Sookie had been adamant that he get to keep his memories.
And, while I was still a little wary of Jason Stackhouse, he was to be the uncle to my children. And Sookie loved him.
And he’d fixed my bonded several liter bottles of salt water before we’d left to meet Claude at Andy Bellefleur’s home. She was chugging away at one when she texted her fairy cousin to tell him that we’d arrived at the estate where the sheriff was staying with his four girls.
Almost immediately, Claude appeared outside of the car, having used his Fae gift and magic to “find” his blood kin.
“Hiya, Cuz!” he grinned as I opened the car door for my bonded.
“Hey, Claude. Thanks so much for coming. I know that Andy’s got lots of questions about his girls and I have more about the boys, too,” Sookie relayed, biting her bottom lip somewhat nervously.
“No worries,” Claude said, even as he looked at her expanded belly and nodded as if approving of Sookie’s increase in size. “Maurella is notoriously flighty and has already moved on, likely to Ireland where she has some kin. I can’t say that I’m surprised that she left her offspring behind.”
“I don’t get how a mother could do that!” Sookie said critically, even as she automatically covered her belly with her hand.
“Humans are much more attached to their children,” Claude said with a shrug. “Fae children grow so quickly that their parents act more as guides than nurturers. Plus, it is uncommon for the fairies who can conceive to have fewer than three children at a time. And,” Claude said with a little sadness in his tone, “many full-blooded fairy women cannot conceive at all, and—for those who do—carrying to term is not a given. Maurella is an exception in that she’s had several successful pregnancies—all with human men. I suppose it is—for these reasons—that many fairies see having children as simply a brief role to fulfill. This way, their separation pain is not great and their disappointments are not catastrophic if they are not able to carry children.”
“No one expects you to behave in this way,” Claude smiled at my bonded and took her hand. “You will be a good mother—combining the best of fairy and human nature. You and your vampire will create a family that will be unique and which will reflect your own values.”
“He is right, min kära,” I comforted, pulling Sookie into my arms. Once she was nestled there, I nodded at the fairy. His words had cheered my bonded, and I was grateful for them.
Claude nodded back, and we made our way to the town sheriff’s door. The Bellefleur mansion was likely the finest in Bon Temps, but I could tell that it had seen better days. Of course, keeping up antebellum estates—without the excessive use of Authority money (a.k.a. Bill Compton’s payment strategy)—was difficult. And it wasn’t as if the Bellefleur estate boasted large crops of cotton or sugarcane anymore.
The “doorbell” I rang was a literal one—likely the home’s original. I pulled an old-fashioned cord and heard the tingling of an actual bell inside the home.
The brunette women who opened the door wasn’t one I recognized. Sookie had told me that Terry Bellefleur and Andy Bellefleur had been sharing the estate since Caroline, their grandmother, had suffered a debilitating stroke the year before. Their respective love interests were known to me. Terry’s wife, Arlene, was a coworker to Sookie—as was Andy’s girlfriend, Holly.
The woman at the door was neither of them.
The brunette immediately ogled me. Sookie immediately tensed.
“Portia!” Sookie said, her voice clearly having an edge to it. “How nice to see you. I didn’t know you’d be here.”
The brunette scoffed in Sookie’s direction, but kept her eyes on me.
For the brunette.
“My brother needed my help tonight since neither Arlene nor Holly could babysit his,” she paused, “children.” Her voice was full of judgment for her brother—and his quickly-growing children.
However, it was likely her thoughts which caused my bonded to slap her squarely across her face.
Portia immediately grabbed her cheek with pain.
“Bitch,” Portia muttered, causing me to growl.
“Stop looking at my mate, Portia Bellefleur!” my bonded yelled out. “And stop thinking about Andy’s kids as freaks! They are part fairy, you twit! And you are an ignorant woman who thinks of yourself as better than everyone else in this town—even as you are jealous of them for every accomplishment that they do have!”
The brunette smirked and glared at Sookie, obviously not appreciating my bonded’s anger. And she’d not noticed her lit-up fingers either. Both Claude and I “took one for the team”—so to speak—as we each grabbed one of Sookie’s “fiery” hands.
Otherwise, Sookie would have likely lit Portia on fire! As it was, both Claude and I winced from the shock of touching Sookie’s microwave fingers—as Jason had so aptly called them.
Still, I had the presence of mind to quickly take over Portia’s mind with my glamouring.
Her eyes locked onto mine with the kind of eagerness which came from those who wanted to be glamoured in order to escape their own empty lives.
“Portia, you will invite us in—now,” I ordered.
“Right. Y’all come on in,” Portia said, her Southern accent suddenly coming out. Obviously, she attempted to hide it in her day-to-day life—as if not having one would make her seem any more intelligent.
I was pretty sure that nothing would help with that.
“Do you have a bedroom here?” I asked.
As Sookie growled, Portia nodded blankly.
“Go there immediately,” I commanded. “Shut your door and do not come out until Andy Bellefleur knocks on it. Oh—and if you ever see me again, you will remember that I belong to Sookie Stackhouse. And you will treat her with cordiality.”
The brunette nodded and turned away to follow my instructions—a really good thing considering the fact that Sookie still looked ready to bite her head off.
Or obliterate her with her light.
One or the other.
“Her thoughts were so nasty,” Sookie seethed.
“They needn’t matter to you,” I soothed, pulling her into my arms.
“Who’re you?” a little girl’s voice asked. She was peeking out from behind a doorframe which led to what looked like a living room.
“And why are you glowin’?” another little girl asked me from the other side of the doorframe.
“Shhh. Don’t be rude, Danika,” yet another little girl said.
“But I wanna know why he’s glowin’ too, Braelyn,” a fourth girl whispered, peeking out from behind the first one who had spoken.
All four had their eyes on only one of the three people still in the foyer: me.
Sookie gasped from next to me, and—as if her motherly instinct had engaged—she cooed at the four girls, “Well, hello there!”
All of them looked from me to Sookie, and each of them gave her a wide smile.
“You shoulda hit mean Aunt Portia with your light-hands!” the one called Danika piped up as she stepped from behind the doorsill.
“Danika!” yelled the one called Braelyn. “That’s just rude!”
Danika pouted. “But Aunt Portia is the rude one! She thinks we’re weird.”
“We are weird,” answered the first one who’d spoken.
“No! You aren’t!” Sookie said in her most fiery—and feisty—tone. I had to remind myself that we were around children; otherwise, that fieriness would have stirred me into a frenzy of desire.
“You are special. You are fairies,” Sookie told the girls.
“That Portia thinks we’re strange,” frowned the first girl who had spoken.
“Adilyn!” the only girl of whom I’d not yet discovered the name yelled out. “She’s our auntie!”
Adilyn rolled her eyes. “Charlaine, you and I both know that she doesn’t think we’re really daddy’s kids. She thinks we’re freaks!”
“Freaks escaped from the circus,” the one called Danika intoned.
At this, Claude chuckled. “Humans! They always judge what they cannot understand. However, rest assured, you little girls are perfectly normal fairies.”
The one called Charlaine looked at Claude skeptically. “Beggin’ your pardon, sir, but every head we’ve heard so far thinks we are freakazoids with a capital ‘F’!”
“What do you hear from my head—then?” I asked, stepping forward, my hand still entwined with Sookie’s. To test myself, I inhaled fully. The girls all smelled lovely, but they did not tempt me. In fact, I felt protective toward them.
“I don’t hear nothin’,” Danika grinned.
“Us neither,” the others quickly echoed.
“And from us?” Claude motioned between Sookie and himself.
“Just what y’all are sendin’ to us,” Adilyn said, her cute brown curls bouncing.
“So—we’re fairies!” Charlaine exclaimed.
“We didn’t rightly believe Daddy when he told us,” Braelyn chirped.
“You are fairies,” Sookie smiled at them. “Part. So am I. And so are they,” she said, motioning toward her belly.
Two of the girls, Danika and Adilyn, skipped toward Sookie—as the other two stayed back by the doorframe. Both of the approaching girls reached out and put their little hands over Sookie’s belly.
As a vampire—and a possessive motherfucker at that—I ought to have stopped them.
But I found myself—oddly enough—smiling at the two tweens.
“Boys!” Danika exclaimed.
“Two!” Adilyn yelped.
“Yes!” Sookie grinned.
“Can we have them?” Danika asked.
“Have them?” I asked.
All four girls nodded.
“Yes! We’ll need boyfriends soon,” Charlaine exclaimed.
“But there are four of us,” Braelyn said rationally.
“And only two of them,” little Adilyn frowned.
“Can’t you have more?” Danika asked Sookie.
I chuckled even as Sookie looked a little taken aback.
Claude laughed heartily. “Now girls,” he said, trying to hide his amusement behind a stern face, “one cannot simply claim a fairy male before meeting him!”
“Why not?” Danika asked, her brows furrowed cutely together.
I was coming to understand that she was the boldest one among the four.
Claude puffed up a bit. “Fae men do have some say in whom we want to be with!”
Though I was amused, Sookie was—for lack of a better term—nonplussed by the girls’ “claiming.”
“Um—girls—the boys haven’t even been born yet. And—um—they need to learn and grow—A LOT—before they even think about belonging to anyone. And—um—I’m sure your daddy wouldn’t want you to talk about boys and whatnot!”
Just then, said “daddy” walked in through the back of the house and into the living room from another entrance to the home. I’d smelled him coming—of course—and I’m sure that Claude had sensed him, but Sookie was surprised to see him. I was pretty sure that she had been trying to keep her shields firmly in place to keep out the girls, however.
Normally, I might have chastised Sookie for not keeping vigilant in order to ensure her and the boys’ safety, but she knew that I was with her. Thus, she knew that her safety was “on me” at that time. The gods knew that I was ready to go fucking Berserker if anyone fucked with my “hopefully” future wife and my children! And I was proud that she finally trusted me completely.
Honored, in fact.
“Where’s Portia?” Andy asked gruffly.
“She’s been sent to her room,” Danika reported.
“She was wantin’ to steal Eric away from Sookie,” Adilyn added.
“She was thinkin’ ’bout how Sookie is white trash,” chimed in Danika.
“And about how Sookie was fat and not pretty,” Adilyn said with a frown.
“But we think she’s real pretty,” Braelyn said shyly.
“Aunt Portia was just plain rude!” piped in Charlaine.
“And we don’t like her anyway, Daddy,” said Braelyn, biting her lip nervously.
“And we don’t agree with her thoughts at all!” Adilyn assured, looking up at Sookie. Her little hand was still on Sookie’s belly—almost possessively.
Danika’s was too. “No we don’t,” she agreed. “We like Sookie.” She looked at her father soberly. “Why can’t we have yellow hair like her?”
“Your hair’s beautiful as it is,” Andy said forcefully. “Gorgeous—in fact.”
All four girls smiled at their father’s compliment.
“You don’t like Portia?” Andy asked somewhat cluelessly.
The little girls all shook their heads. “Nope!” Adilyn conveyed.
“She didn’t like us first,” Braelyn defended.
“Oh,” Andy said, obviously not knowing what else to say in that moment.
“Couldn’t you just marry Holly?” Danika asked.
“We like her!” the other three chimed in unison.
“Well—uh—it’s complicated,” Andy stuttered. The sheriff looked at Sookie, Claude, and me helplessly.
As if we could help.
“Um—thanks for coming,” the sheriff faltered. “You—uh—must be Claude?” he asked Sookie’s fairy kin as he came toward us and extended his hand to Sookie’s fairy kin.
“Yes,” Claude responded. “And you are the father of Maurella’s children.”
“My children,” Andy said insistently.
“Of course,” Claude bowed a little.
“Um—maybe we can talk in private?” Andy asked, motioning subtly toward his girls, who had grouped together behind the sheriff.
“They’d be able to hear everything we said regardless,” Sookie informed.
“Might as well let them participate,” I contributed, winking at the little ones.
Danika and Adilyn skipped toward me and both gripped my right arm. I was still holding Sookie with my left.
Automatically, I raised my right arm to swing the girls.
“Amazing,” Claude said as he took in the sight.
“Why? Do you want a ride?” I smirked at him.
He rolled his eyes. “No. It’s just that I’ve never seen a vampire in such control around those who are Halflings.”
Andy looked at me suspiciously. “You are in control—right?” he asked.
I nodded. “I feel,” I paused, “protective of them.”
Sookie looked up at me in surprise. “Me too,” she relayed before turning to Claude. “Why’s that?”
“With you—it is likely a couple of things: your own impending maternity and the kinship you feel with the children,” Claude informed my bonded as Andy looked on.
“Sookie and my girls are kin?” Andy asked.
“Not in the way humans see such matters,” Claude informed the sheriff. “But the Fae tend to thrive when they are near others of their kind.”
“Oh,” Andy nodded, though it was clear that he still didn’t quite understand how everything worked with the Fae. I couldn’t say that I did either.
“What about me?” I asked, glancing at the girls. All four seemed to be competing to catch my gaze. And I wondered—again—why I felt and urge to ensure their well-being when I’d only just met them.
“With you?” Claude asked, looking at me with a shrug. “It’s a mystery to me, too. Maybe it’s Sookie’s blood in you. Or maybe you see the commonalities between these children and yours.”
“Or maybe you’re just a good man,” Sookie whispered, placing her body closer to my side.
“What about with other vampires?” Andy asked nervously. “Would the—uh—girls be safe around them.”
“Not likely,” Claude informed, even as each of the four girls took a hand of an adult and dragged us into the living room to sit down.
It was Danika, definitely the most assertive, who took my hand. Meanwhile, I could intuit the other girls’ main character traits too. The shyest was Braelyn, who was the one to take Andy’s hand. The most curious was certainly Adilyn. And Charlaine seemed the sweetest of the four.
“Um—can I get y’all anything to drink?” Andy asked. He looked at Sookie. “Salt water?”
“Yes please!” Sookie enthused with a smile.
“I’ll get it, Daddy!” Danika enthused, hurrying out of the room.
When she “popped” back into it less than half a minute later, Andy’s confused look was priceless.
Of course, I had a confused look of my own.
A/N: Hello all! I hope that you liked the girls. I decided to use the names that were used on the show—thus Charlaine. I almost changed that one, but then I took a breath and remembered that Charlaine Harris is the reason why we have Eric at all. Anyway, it was fun writing the girls and trying to give them each a different personality.
Until next week,
As always, thanks to both Seph and Kleannhouse for their many, many contributions!